An early warning system for landslides

Innovative technology to monitor cracks, slope inclination, and rainfall amounts
has made it possible to apply a real-time early warning system of landslide hazard threats across Indonesia

LANDSLIDES ARE ONE of the deadliest and most common natural disasters in the world. Each year the global death toll due to landslides is thousands. The National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) recorded 3753 landslides that have occurred from 2010 to 2018 in Indonesia and caused 1661 fatalities. It is estimated that 40.9 million people in Indonesia live in landslide-prone areas.

Landslides can start in slopes that are already vulnerable to movement by rainfall, changes in groundwater, erosion, earthquakes, volcanic activities, human factors, or a combination of these factors. In Indonesia, landslides typically occur during the rainy season in mountain areas, hills, steep slopes, and cliffs. 

In response to landslide hazards, early warning system is a critical component to reduce the vulnerability of communities at risk. To help with preventive efforts, our team, led by Professor Teuku Faisal Fathani, has developed Gadjah Mada Early Warning System (GAMA-EWS) that can predict landslide events and support disaster preparedness in our community. 

GAMA-EWS works by detecting ground shifts and movements using various types of sensors such as rain gauge, extensometer, and tiltmeter. It is connected to alarm devices to respond to rainfall and surface deformation. The slope movement is digitally recorded and the data is stored online. When the ground moves, the system notifies local residents via SMS and pop-up messages during caution-alert-evacuation mode.

GAMA – EWS is saving lives and protecting communities 

GAMA-EWS has assisted in preventing landslide fatalities. On 7 November 2007, the system detected a landslide in Banjarnegara, Central Java four hours before it occurred, allowing a total of 35 households to evacuate on time.

On 28 November 2016, GAMA-EWS has saved 100 households in Aceh from a landslide event as well as flash floods, on the same day we were giving evacuation drill to the local residents. The system managed to send alerts five hours before the incident.

So far, GAMA-EWS has been installed in over 32 provinces in Indonesia and exported to Myanmar. 

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We have worked with BPDB in initiating activities to develop GAMA-EWS and disaster warning signs throughout Central Java. With support from BPNB, we installed the system for both landslide and floods from May 2019 to November 2019.

Community participation for sustainable development

Community participation plays a crucial part in successful disaster management. We offer supporting programs to equip the community with the capacity to prepare and respond before, during, and after disasters. These include public education and consultation, public participation in developing the system, and training and evacuation drill. Our hope is that GAMA-EWS will continue its contribution to building disaster-resilient communities across Indonesia.

Our awards

Our team was awarded an International Program on Landslides (IPL) Award by the IPL UNESCO in Rome, 2011. We were recognized for developing community-based landslide early warning system and education program for sustainable development in landslide vulnerable areas through student community services.

In further recognition of the work done by the team, we have also been named “World Center of Excellence on Landslide Disaster Reduction” and “Member of the ICL Board of Representatives” by IPL UNESCO since 2011.

Our landslide early warning system has become an international standard as published by the International Organization for Standardization: ISO 2237 “Community-based landslide early warning system”. We received patents for our sensors as well from the Ministry of Law and Human Rights (no. IDP000038351, no. IDP000038434, no. IDP000038787, no. IDP000038968, no. IDP000039806).

Our research

  1. Karakteristik Batubara Formasi Pulaubalang dan Balikpapan Cekungan Kutai Bawah, Kalimantan Timur - Jurnal Geosapta, Vol. 5/ No. 1/ 2019, oleh Amijaya DH, Harijoko A. 

  2. Studi Potensi Pengembangan PLTMH di Kawasan Perkebunan Teh PT. PAGILARAN Kabupaten Batang- Jurnal Otomasi Kontrol dan Instrumentasi, Vol. 11/ No. 1/ 2019, oleh Widiyantoro WP, Wilopo W, Sulaiman M. 

  3. A Numerical Analysis of Landslide Movements Considering the Erosion and Deposition along the Flow Path – Journal of The Civil Engineering Forum, Vol. 5/No. 2/2019, oleh Syah A. Jurnal Ilmiah Internasional 

  4. The Effect of Inception Point on Dissipation Energy in Stepped Spill- ways Modeling - Journal of Southwest Jiaotong University, Vol. 54/ No. 3/ 2019, oleh Krisnayanti DS, Suhardjono, Dermawan V, Legono D. 

  5. Optimization Of Manganese Bioleaching Activity And Molecular Characterization Of Indigenous Heterotrophic Bacteria Isolated From The Sulfuric Area - Biodiversitas Journal of Biological Diversity, Vol. 20/ No. 7/ 2019, oleh Prasidya DA, Wilopo W, Warmada IW, Retnaningrum E. 

  6. Pyrolusite Bioleaching by an Indigenous Acidithiobacillus sp KL3 Isolated from an Indonesian Sulfurous River Sediment¬ - Indonesian Journal of Chemistry, Vol. 19/ No. 3/ 2019, oleh Retnaningrum E dan Wilopo W. 

  7. Temporal Changes in Runoff Characteristics of Lahars After the 1984 Eruption of Mt. Merapi, Indonesia - Journal of Disaster Research, Vol. 14/ Ed. 1/ 2019, oleh Gonda Y, Miyata S, Fujita M, Legono D, Tsutsumi D. 

  8. Investigation And Numerical Simulation Of The 22 February 2018 Landslide-triggered Long-traveling Debris Flow At Pasir Panjang Village, Brebes Regency Of Central Java, Indonesia - Journal of Landslide, Springer, oleh Setiawan H, Wilopo W, Wiyoso T, Fathani TF, Karnawati D. 

  9. Improving Spatial Rainfall Estimates at Mt. Merapi Area Using Radar-Rain Gauge Conditional Merging - Journal of Disaster Research, Vol. 14/ Ed. 1/ 2019, oleh Hambali R, Legono D, Jayadi R, Oishi S. 

  10. Geochemical Behavior of Trace- and Rare-Earth Elements in the Hydrothermal Alteration Facies of the Cijulang Area, West Java, Indonesia - Open Journal of Geology, Vol. 9/ No. 5/ 2019, oleh Tun MM, Warmada IW, Idrus A, Harijoko A, Yonezu K, Watanabe K. 

  11. The Human Cost of Global Warming: Deadly Landslides and Their Triggers (1995–2014) - Journal Science of the Total Environment, Vol. 682/ 2019, oleh Haque U, Silva PF, Devoli G, Pilz J, Zhao B, Khaloua A, Wilopo W, Andersen P, Lu P, Lee J, Yamamoto T, Keellings D, Hong Wu J, Glass GE.